Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bruton to Brutalise Blair's EU Bid?

I've just landed in Dublin, where I will be for the next 24 hours, to learn that former Irish Premier John Bruton is launching a bid to be the first EU president and thereby scupper Tony Blair in the process.

The devil in me would love to see Blair get it, but not for good reasons! It would certainly cement Eurosceptic sentiment in the UK, and I doubt whether it would do much for pro EU feeling throughout the rest of the continent.

But I am convinced he won't win through and that there will be a compromise candidate from one of the smaller countries. Bruton could be the man, although the Dutch premier Jan Peter Balkenende would also be a good bet.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

hmmm I dont think Bruton would get it, He was only Taoiseach for 2 years.

Bertie Ahern now on the other hand, has been Taoiseach for 11 years and did put together the EU Constitution. I would say he would have a better chance.

Anonymous said...

I guess it depends how he campaigned in the EU constitutional referenda?

Hamish said...

Could we stop squabbling about who gets the job and ask the question why we need the job in the first place.
I am passionately pro-Europe by the way.

dearieme said...

Must it be a Dutchman whose name isn't even funny?
Is Lewd Rubbers not available?

David Anthony said...

Compromise candidates... they always do well..

Paul Halsall said...

The EU is the best thing for peace that has ever happened in Europe.

I simply do not understand those in my own country who oppose. We all have complaints about any system we are in this, but there has been no general war in Europe since 1945, and the EU provides by far the best framework for dealing with the remaining ethnic/ethno-religious problems.

Do you really want more wars in Europe.

Iain Dale said...

Paul Halsall, You don't know your history very well. It is NATO which has kept the post war peace in Europe. I do not deny the EU has played a part, but generaly an inglorious part. Look at what wonders it performed in the Balkans in the 1990s. Not.

Paul Halsall said...

I know my history very well.

I do not deny that NATO (AND the Warsaw Pact) had a role in stabilising Europe), but in truth the major conflicts in the past 400 years had all been initiated by France, the biggest German state (based in either Vienna or Berlin) and Spain (which is no longer a threat).

The European Steel and Coal Community led to the EEC to the EC and now to the EU. It has stabilised all of west and west-central Europe, and shows signs of doing so in east central Europe.

Meanwhile, the EU's support for regionalism within countries is part of what helped calm Ireland down, stopped Catalunya getting violent, and keeps the Basque country OK.

As long as the EU prevails, there will be no irredentist wars over Trieste, the Tyrol, German speaking Belgium, etc. etc.

If the EU had already been able to incorporate Yugoslavia I doubt those criminal idiots Milosevic and Tudjman would have been able to wreck the destruction they did.

I'm not a good person to accuse of not knowing history.

glenn said...

John Bruton is in with a good chance. If he does go for it and europe will need a compromise candidate, what better sign for those eurosceptic British than to give the presidency to a former Irish PM. That will show us British to vote for Europe and then we can have Tony Blair as President!

Iain Dale said...

Paul, if you are such an expert, what a pity you chose to attribute peace in Europe to the EU and not even mention NATO.

glenn said...

There has also been no general war in europpe since we have had nuclear weapons...

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you dont suppot Blair when he has done more for gay people than any other PM.

Paul Halsall said...

Iain. Your post was on the EU. And the ECSC-EEC-EC-EU has been just as important.

Indeed more so now than ever.

Anonymous said...

Why the implication that if the EU disappeared tomorrow we'd all start pummelling each other?

Anonymous said...

As an ordinary voter, I regard my one great political judgement to have been not to vote for Tony Blair. I was tempted, oh yes, a new, clean politics, whiter than white, but I never could trust that ghastly Colgate grin. Events vindicated that judgement. To see him as unelected President of the EU, an office that shouldn't exist in the first place, poncing around the world glorifying vanity & venality and bringing shame upon his born nation to rival the shame Brown has brought... well, it is just too much. Maybe I will join the BNP, NOT because I am racist but because it seems the only way to kick the establishment up the butt.

waddell said...

The presence of NATO is a very large disincentive to war with a member nation. Most of western Europe is part of NATO. I think the construct of the EU is largely irrelevant to the relative peace we enjoy. NATO is an important backstop, but the horrors of WWI and WWII are reason enough to suppose that those key nations may not have the stomach to fight each other again. It is also partly a matter of circumstance and the conflicts of the past 64 years have simply not created the imperative for war. I don't think the EU need take credit for that, nor NATO for that matter.

waddell said...

The presence of NATO is a very large disincentive to war with a member nation. Most of western Europe is part of NATO. I think the construct of the EU is largely irrelevant to the relative peace we enjoy. NATO is an important backstop, but the horrors of WWI and WWII are reason enough to suppose that those key nations may not have the stomach to fight each other again. It is also partly a matter of circumstance and the conflicts of the past 64 years have simply not created the imperative for war. I don't think the EU need take credit for that, nor NATO for that matter.

iain said...

I don't get the Irish.

300-odd years of Britannia's huns this and John Bull's tyranny that and the first chance they get they sell themselves to Europe lock, stock, and barrel of porter.

iain said...

Second chance, Iain, second chance.

iain said...

Sorry... my bad.

Bath plugs for the many, not the few said...

Paul Halsall: I notice that you can't spell wreak.

Your argument seems to be a combination of post hoc, ergo procter hoc, and wishful thinking. The fact that there hasn't been a war between member states of the EU yet doesn't provide any assurance that there won't be in the future.

There is a good argument that the imposition of an undemocratic lid on the pressure cooker will inevitably result in the outbreak of further conflict (as in the Balkans, for example). There are also realistic fears that our own British armed forces will be significantly weakened by the Eurocrats, putting us in a much poorer position to defend ourselves in the future.

Tom said...

Wouldn't it be delicious if Blair wound up being the only EU President ever.

David Icke said...

Oh God please. Not Brutal.

Anyone but Brutal. Well, anyone but Brutal or Blair.

Please, let's have some insignificant Belgian or something , and less of these power hungry illuminati.

Hamish said...

Paul,
Eloquent posts, but the threat to Britain in WW2 came from the axis of Germany, Italy and Japan.
You don't mention the last two.

Anonymous said...

Are you doing any interviews with the Irish media?

Anonymous said...

Blair gave up our rebate, hard won by Mrs Thatcher, because he wanted to ingratiate himself with the Europeans with a view to becoming President. That alone should disqualify him from consideration.

Victor, NW Kent said...

Paul Halsall

I will give you a scenario. NATO dissolves and Russia invades some EU countries - the usual ones. Will the power of the EU vanquish the invaders?

Anonymous said...

George Monbiot supports Blair's nomination on the basis it will make it easier to execute an arrest warrant:

http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2009/10/26/arresting-blair/

David said...

It's Jan Peter Balkenende Iain. It is 'the talk of the town' here in The Netherlands. Problem is, if Balkenende becomes EU council president, the government will probably have to organise an election, something which the governing parties would not like (they score less than a third of the parliamentary seats in the opinion polls, while they now have more than half). He would be an ideal compromise candidate. His governing style is based on either waiting for others to take a decision or doing nothing, something which would not be too bad for Europe.

Anonymous said...

Paul Halsall,

I'm sure the Poles,Czechs,the Baltic states and the other East Europeans will love the idea of the Warsaw Pact having "stabilised" Europe. Thank heavens the US and Canada signed up for the Atlantic Charter. As for Europe, you might like to recall that the Belgians refused to even "sell" never mind give our forces desperately need munitions for the first, legal, Gulf War.

Edward Sutherland.

Anonymous said...

Hi Iain, what are you doing in Dublin? Next time give your Irish readers some advance notice and we'll buy you a drink. Sorry about the Lisbon vote, by the way, we tried but the Eur-bullies were too strong...

Keir said...

SHAME!!!- I, a British citizen, have to appeal (I can't vote, after all) to Sarkozy and Merkel to prevent Blair from being my President?!?! I can't think of a better reason to get the hell out of this organisation which is against everything our country has stood for. The Germans who had Hitler appointed above their heads, but even then at least there were elections that demonstrated something akin to public consultation.
By the way, back in Ireland I appreciated Bruton who I felt was was instrumental in the Peace movement that led to the Good Friday Agreement.

Manfarang said...

Mary Robinson for the EU Presidency.

http://www.maryrobinson.eu

Jason O'Mahony said...

Iain (The other one), you forget, we had a choice about joining the EU, unlike joining the UK. And if we wish to leave, we won't have to shoot our way out, either.
The thing British eurosceptics don't under stand about many Irish pro-Europeans is that we feel about the EU the way you feel about the monarchy. It's in our gut.
The (Real)Iain: You're right. Dublin is bloody expensive, although getting better. Of course, if you were used to using the Euro...

Matthew said...

Iain, I find it peculiar that you think that a politician who pasted the Tories in three successive general elections would "cement Eurosceptic feeling". The opposite is rather likelier. Anyone who believes differently has spent too long listening to the blathering of the commentariat.

The thing that will cement anti-EU feeling is far more likely to be the decision to appoint a faceless, lowest common denominator EU technocrat. Unfortunately, that is what we will get because that is simply how the EU works.

Eurosceptics will rejoice at this outcome, because it means that the EU will continue to be run by backroom stitchups without anyone with the ability to make a forceful political argument to Europe's sceptical electorates. All of the belly-aching about Lisbon will have been for nothing, nothing will change, and the EU will continue to lose legitimacy in the eyes of the public. Exactly what Eurosceptics want, I'd have thought?

cherami said...

Christine Lagarde. Feisty, intelligent, out of the macho loop.

Ilja Nieuwland said...

PLEASE let it be Balkenende, our most embarrassing prime minister since the war.

Won't happen though - the Belgians won't have it.

Steve Tierney said...

I know im in the massive minority here but I disagree with your premise.

I strongly suspect that having Tony Blair as EU president will weaken Anti-EU feeling.

The hatred for Tony Blair is waning (outside political circles) as time passes. He is not the hated man we on the right presume any longer. There is too much water under the bridge.

You also misunderstand the blindly "patriotic" nature of the British Public and their incredible ability to forget. With a big-mouthed Brit as top dog what will start as opposition will turn to approval.

Mark my words.

(Ps. I don't want ANY Eu President and certainly not Blair. I'm a BOO.)

Dimoto said...

Just a point of order - how old is this Junker entity ?
He seems to have been a runner for every Euro-post since about 1960.
Maybe he is the Transylvanian ? He certainly has the visage for it.

Dimoto said...

Hmm, sorry, Juncker entity.
I see he claims to be 55 - come off it Jean-Claude, 155 maybe ?

Anonymous said...

Tony 'the twister' Blair now wants a free ride on the Euro Express
The EU job may suit the former PM, but it would do nothing for Britain, argues Jeff Randall


By Jeff Randall
Published: 8:20PM GMT 29 Oct 2009

Of all the bogus arguments for supporting Tony Blair's not-so-subtle campaign to become the European Union's president, none is more nauseating than that put forward by Chris Bryant, the Europe minister – patriotism. Those in the United Kingdom who oppose Mr Blair's candidacy are, he said, "unpatriotic".

Is this the same Mr Bryant who, with co-conspirator Siôn Simon, led a plot to shove Mr Blair out of Downing Street in 2006? You know the answer. But that was then, this is now, and few could argue with a straight face that the MP for the Rhondda values consistency. As a former member of the Conservative Party, his journey to the heart of Europe has been a series of colourful twists and turns. He flipped his second-home designation (twice in a year) to milk the system for MPs' expenses, and now he's flopped on the virtues of Mr Blair as a leader. Worse still, by implication, Mr Bryant has decorated the lobbying for his former boss with a string of Union flags. A nod for Tony is a wink for Britain. At this point, we pass round the Emetrol and a box of tissues.

During a decade at No 10, Team TB did more to pull apart the fabric of this country's reputation than all the Cambridge traitors. Such was the scale of Mr Blair's betrayal, it's hard to know where to begin. Those of nervous or irritable disposition may wish to look away now.

Britain's border controls were abandoned, prompting a largely irreversible tide of immigration. A flawed concept of multi-culturalism was forced down our throats. It was a triumph for Mr Blair's special brand of political cynicism, concealed, as Sir Andrew Green of MigrationWatch rightly observes, by "dodgy economic camouflage".

Our hard-won EU rebate, worth billions, was handed back – for nothing in return. Mr Blair's desire for approval in Brussels was funded by the sweat of British workers. In his 1997 "Beacon to the World" speech, Mr Blair said that he wanted "Britain to lead in Europe again", but failed to mention the cost. Promises of a referendum on a European constitution were soon forgotten. Instead, sovereignty was surreptitiously transferred across the Channel.

Under Mr Blair, the "patriot", our domestic union was corroded by a botched devolution. Some of Ulster's most vicious terrorists were rewarded with seats in government. Ancient constitutional traditions were sacrificed on the altar of "modernisation". The unanswered West Lothian question made English voters second-class citizens. EU students enjoyed free places at Scottish universities, but English, Welsh and Northern Irish students were forced to pay full fees.

...

Anonymous said...

Hamish the 'Passionate Pro EUropean by the way'.

Are you Scottish?, apologies if your not, if you are, you and your irrelevant little Region can have the EU Dictatorship, 'Treaty' and 'EUro' to go along with your Scottish EU Regional assembly, who cares.

Just Passionately stay out of England business.

Simples.

Anonymous said...

I can't see how Blair would become the EU President. He is hated across Europe for the Iraq invasion. His credibility is shot to pieces on that front. I also seem to remember that he currently has another super duper job as our Middle East envoy(how's that one working out there?)! The only thing that would count in his favour would be that he is widely recognised on the international stage(although for the wrong reasons). Whilst Italy's Berlusconi supports him you have to remember the Italian media once called him "The Scourger!" because of that fiasco about staying at his house in Italy for his holiday.

Alcuin Bramerton said...

It may be that the royalist British intelligence faction which is fighting the German DVD (Dachau) penetration of British institutions through Common Purpose, gave a clear warning to Brussels that if the nomination of Tony Blair for the Council of Europe's first President was pursued further, it would leak Interpol and other documents which out both Tony Blair and José Manuel Durão Barroso, the 12th President of the European Commission, as long-standing paedophiles.

Barroso is said to have been personally involved in the Madeleine McCann abduction on Thursday 3rd May 2007, and Blair is reported to have used D-Notices in early 2003 to suppress news that the British police were closing in on some top suspects in the Operation Ore paedophile investigation, including named senior members of his British Labour government.

Two of the intelligence source documents in the circulating Interpol bundle may include this (30.10.09) and this (20.09.08).

realtor from Vancouver BC said...

Blair as a president would finally shut up the Euroskeptics all over EU. It's time for them to realize that the EU is the greatest idea put in action in Europe so far.

Take care, Jay